Monday, May 16, 2005

Here's another interesting tidbit from Bradley K. Martin's Under the Care of the Fatherly Leader, his look at North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il. It seems that however Communist North Korea may claim to be elements of Korea's folk medicine tradition continue to linger. As Kim Il Sung aged the Kim Il Sun Institute of Health and Longevity was established(at the behest of Kim Jong Il) to help the Great Leader live a longer and healthier life. One of its recommendations was that Kim Il Sung consume dog penises of at least 7 centimetres in length.

Of course my response, as it would be of most Western readers of such a prescription, was disgust. Eating dog is bad enough, but dog penises is even worse. But as we all realise this is a culturally ingrained response. Koreans have long consumed dog and so would not find consuming unusual bits of dogs for health reasons odd. Similarily people who grow up in Muslim countries, even if they are not Muslims themselves or abandon the faith, may find the idea of eating pig odd and disturbing.

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